Shinkansen bullet train painted with nostalgic design to mark Japan-transport anniversaries

The Yomiuri Shimbun
An E2 series Shinkansen bullet train featuring a nostalgic design is shown to reporters at a depot in Rifu, Miyagi Prefecture, on Wednesday.

A Tohoku-Joetsu Shinkansen bullet train sporting a 40-year-old design — a thick green stripe on a cream-colored body — began operating Thursday.

The special service marks the 150th anniversary of railway transport in Japan and the 40th anniversary of the Tohoku-Joetsu Shinkansen’s introduction.

Operating company East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) unveiled the train Wednesday at a depot in the town of Rifu, Miyagi Prefecture.

The stripe was originally inspired by fresh verdure after a thaw. For the new service, JR East has also resurrected folk song-derived jingles and other music that was played aboard the original Tohoku-Joetsu Shinkansen trains when arriving at or departing from a station.

The new service employs a single E2 series locomotive instead of the original 200 series train, as the 200 model, which was popular for its rounded-nose design, is no longer used.

“We hope the service will allow passengers to enjoy traveling by train while recalling fond memories of the past,” a JR East official said.

Schedule details can be found on JR East’s official website.